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Magna Carta for Seafarers gets Senate nod before break - PNA

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The Senate approved on Wednesday night Senate Bill (SB) No. 2221 or the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers in time before adjournment after a thorough period of amendments.

The bill, which garnered 14 votes, zero negative, and zero abstention, shall address recurring deficiencies in the domestic laws pertaining to the training and accreditation of Filipino seafarers which endanger their employment in the European market in particular, and the global maritime arena, in general.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had recently certified the measure as urgent, saying the bill guarantees to the international community that the Philippines will comply with its obligations of ensuring that Filipino seafarers’ training, facilities, and equipment are at par with the international standards and those set by relevant international conventions.


Senator Raffy Tulfo, who sponsored the measure, thanked his fellow senators, seafarers, the Department of Migrant Workers, and the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration.

"I'm really overwhelmed with joy. I cannot believe that this is happening. Pati yung langit parang pumapalakpak. This is the first time na ako ay nakapagpapasa ng bill at napunta na po sa (Even the heavens are clapping. This is the first time that I was able to pass a bill to) third reading," Tulfo said.

"For all the seafarers, this is all for you. Of course, gift to sa inyo ng ating Pangulo dahil sinertify niya (this is a gift of the President for you because he certified it) as an urgent bill and it really happened," he added.

Tulfo, chair of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, earlier revealed supposed moves by several groups to block the passage of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers bill at the Senate in the 18th Congress.


The bill was left pending for second reading despite overwhelming support from several senators while its counterpart measure was already approved by the House of Representatives.

Under SB 2221, “the State shall endeavor to secure decent working and living conditions for seafarers, standardize the terms and conditions of their employment, regulate operations of manning agencies and incentivize maritime stakeholders, establish and enhance mechanisms for administrative, adjudicative, and social and welfare services for the seafarers and their families.”

Aside from Tulfo, 14 senators filed their versions of the measure which include Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Majority Floor Leader Senator Joel Villanueva, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda and Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Robinhood Padilla, Cynthia Villar, Risa Hontiveros, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bong Revilla, Bong Go, Bato dela Rosa, and Mark Villar. 

Meanwhile, Department o Migrant Workers Officer-in-Charge Hans Leo Cacdac, in a statement on Thursday, said the department welcomes the passage of the Magna Carta of Seafarers.

“This measure will greatly benefit the country’s thousands of seafarers who contribute immensely to the global maritime industry. Our seafarers play a crucial role in keeping the global flow of trade and goods at a robust pace,” Cacdac said.

Cacdac thanked President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for certifying the bill as urgent.

He said that key highlights of the measure include a seafarer-centric approach, placing Filipino seafarers at the forefront, focusing on their rights, safety, and well-being while working at sea.

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